Grim's Grub: 40 years of generosity

March is Minnesota FoodShare Month, where your donations to local food shelves go further

MN Food Share poster

There are no doubt challenging times the world over right now, but in times like this it is good to know there are people and organizations who try to make that burden more manageable.

For 40 years the largest grassroots food and fund drive in Minnesota has been the Minnesota FoodShare Campaign in March every year.

This program is one that every year steps in to enhance and fortify the generosity of donors to food shelves throughout the state as they have been doing since March 1982.

The program began with a congregation based campaign in seven Twin Cities metro counties (under the moniker Greater Minneapolis Council of Churches, now Greater Minneapolis Community Connections). Just one year later, the program expanded statewide, including around 300 food shelves.

During this month, food shelves throughout the state often organize drives for donations of cash and food. Traditionally this time of year might have fewer donations, and without additional resources, it is possible that some food shelves could run low on supplies.


However, donations during March help to supply the food shelves throughout the entire year.

Donations during the March FoodShare Campaign will be partially met with grant dollars as part of FoodShare Month. This goes for both cash donations and food donations to shelves (food donations count as $1/pound).

In addition to GMCC, other people and organizations offer programs with funding and donations based on March donations. Among them is Hunger Solutions.

Oftentimes, with the help of Second Harvest North Central Food Bank in Grand Rapids, those funds can go much further, meaning donations in March are one of the smartest investments a person can make.

For some of these programs, the money will be allocated to Minnesota food shelves throughout the rest of the year, meaning what gets donated in March helps support shelves all year long. While food items are more than welcome, many food shelves stress that monetary donations are preferred. Food shelves can purchase more than regular consumers with less.

In consideration of FoodShare Month, here are some recipes that can be prepared from common food shelf staples.

Cream of chicken soup


Canned Chicken and Cream of Soup - Two Ways

  • 1 can chopped chicken
  • 1 can cream of chicken soup (or cream of mushroom or cream of celery soups)
  • 1 can full of hot water
  • 1 chicken bouillon cube
  • 4-6 servings mashed potatoes
  • Salt and pepper to taste
  • Toasted bread (for the second recipe)

Note: Mashed potatoes can easily be made from instant mashed potato powder prepared according to the package directions, or make homemade mashed potatoes. Both work equally well.
First way: Chicken and gravy over mashed potatoes for approximately 4 people.

In a deep pan over medium heat, combine the cream of chicken soup and canned chicken. Next, fill the empty soup can to the top with hot water and add a bouillon cube. Stir to dissolve, then add this to the pan. Stir them together to combine well. Once hot and reduced to your desired thickness, this can be served over hot mashed potatoes and seasoned as desired with salt and pepper.

Second way: Hot chicken sandwich for 2-3 people.

Empty the liquid from the can of chicken into your pan over medium heat, but put the chicken into a microwave safe bowl. In the pan, also add the cream of chicken soup. Next, fill the empty soup can to the top with hot water and add a bouillon cube Stir to dissolve, then add this to the pan. Stir them together to combine well.

In the meantime, microwave the chicken for 30-45 seconds or just until hot. Shred with two forks once hot. On a plate, lay out one slice of toast along with a layer of shredded chicken followed by a small dollop of gravy made from the bouillon and cream of chicken soup. Then place another piece of toast over the top. Cut in half diagonally and make space between each half before placing a serving of mashed potatoes in between. Pour gravy over the sandwich and mashed potatoes. Repeat for each person eating.

Tuna burger and fixings.


Tuna Burgers

  • 1 can of tuna, drained
  • 1 egg, beaten
  • 1/2 cup bread crumbs (made from leftover bread)
  • 1/2 cup chopped celery (or 1/2 teaspoon celery salt)
  • 1/3 cup mayonnaise
  • 1/4 cup finely chopped onion (or 1/4 tablespoon onion flakes rehydrated then drained)
  • Dash of hot sauce or pinch of dried hot pepper powder (optional)
  • Bread products for serving (if using buns, toast them in oil in the pan first)
  • Oil/butter/spray
  • Mayonnaise or tartar sauce (optional)
  • Cheese slices (optional)

Combine the above ingredients and then shape into hamburger size patties. Fry these in a greased pan over medium heat until browned on one side. Flip and repeat. Serve on bread with desired condiments.

Chicken fried rice.

Chicken Fried Rice

  • 1 10-ounce can chicken, drained
  • 1 can mixed vegetables, drained (or substitute any vegetables found in a mixed vegetable can: lima beans, peas, carrots, etc.)
  • 2 eggs, beaten
  • 1 small onion cut in half, then sliced into wedges
  • 3 cups rice, cold (Minute Rice will work as well as other types of rice)
  • 3 tablespoons soy sauce
  • 2 tablespoons oil, separated

Heat 1 tablespoon of oil in a frying pan over medium-high heat. Add onions and stir until they are slightly browned around the edges. Add the chicken and stir once before adding the vegetables. Stir once and add the rice.
Once all the ingredients are hot, push the rice mix to one side of the pan, leaving part of the pan empty. Add the oil and use it to coat the bottom before pouring in the eggs and scrambling them. Once scrambled, fold the eggs into the rice mixture. Add the soy sauce before one final, thorough stir, and serve.

Travis Grimler may be reached at 218-855-5853 or Follow him on Facebook and on Twitter at

Travis Grimler began work at the Echo Journal Jan. 2 of 2013 while the publication was still split in two as the Pine River Journal and Lake Country Echo. He is a full time reporter/photographer/videographer for the paper and operates primarily out of the northern stretch of the coverage area (Hackensack to Jenkins).
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